Australia risks sending jobs overseas under plans to include new “greenhouse triggers” in expanded environment protection legislation, Senator Simon Birmingham said today.
Coalition Senators are firmly opposed to the greenhouse trigger canvassed in today’s Government-controlled majority report of a Senate committee inquiry into the effectiveness of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act (EPBC Act).
Senator Birmingham is Deputy Chair of the Senate Standing Committee on Environment, Communications and the Arts, which conducted the inquiry.
“Coalition Senators believe every effort should be made to reduce our greenhouse emissions as rapidly as feasible, but don’t believe the EPBC Act is the appropriate mechanism,” Senator Birmingham said today.
“The EPBC Act was designed to guard against the impact of any particular project on our natural environment – our flora, fauna, heritage and biodiversity – and efforts should be focused on maximising its effectiveness in this regard.
“Considering the greenhouse emissions of a single project in total isolation is no way to manage or shape our overall emissions management.
“It is precisely at this stage of planning new projects that decisions are made about where they will be located. Expanding the scope of the EPBC Act to block projects based on their individual emissions would clearly heighten the risk of investors overlooking Australia for China or India or other less regulated economies.
“New projects here in Australia should continue to be assessed in line with our EPBC Act to best preserve our environment, and then comply with whatever regulatory system we develop on emissions.
“To introduce an EPBC greenhouse trigger is to just load the starter’s gun on a race to send Australian jobs elsewhere and have no say on the resulting emissions.”
Coalition Senators’ Additional Comments and the majority Senate Committee report can be found at